Julia Langkraehr’s Blog

Bold Clarity case study: Control Plane

Bold Clarity case study
Our client Control Plane is a cybersecurity specialist which works with highly regulated businesses such as banks or insurance companies to compress the time it takes for any new software to pass compliance tests.

Since Control Plane was founded three years ago, it has doubled and tripled in size, and now has 15 employees – with a further nine in the process of being onboarded.

While the company is based in London, just two of its staff work from there, with everyone else working remotely.

Control Plane began implementing EOS at the start of the year, and we spoke to Bernino Lind, their Chief Operating Officer about their EOS journey so far.

Why did you decide to implement EOS?

As a leadership team, we were looking at implementing OKRs (objectives, key results) so that people’s daily nitty gritty tasks were aligned with quarterly goals, yearly goals, and an overall strategy.

We stumbled upon the EOS way of doing that and realized that the system goes several steps beyond what a normal OKR exercise would do, because it also implements accountability, through the Accountability Chart, which is very practical.

“We thought, this is absolutely brilliant. It will enable us to be more aligned remotely. There’s always a risk when you work remotely that you don’t sync up as much as you would in a common office.”

He said the team felt EOS would professionalise the company, with good record keeping of meetings, decisions, to-dos and Rocks, and putting processes in place in every department.

“We thought it would help us break through the ceiling, and ultimately bring the company to the next level. These are things we desire, so we thought this is a good idea, let’s do it.”

Read more: Why your company needs an operating system
Why did you choose Bold Clarity?

 After a conversation with Julia, the company’s founder Andrew Martin felt she was a really good fit for the team.

Bernino said: “Julia is very impressive because she’s done it herself so has really valuable with hands on experience.

“She remembers even the little details and you can’t hide. I appreciate that a lot because we all have a tendency perhaps to not be fully honest with ourselves, make excuses and put things off.

“Having someone who keeps us accountable, and a system which keeps us accountable, and a culture that revolves around honesty is extremely helpful. It really does mean all those nitty gritty details get sorted. And when they get sorted, the company runs better and can grow faster, absolutely.”

What are the benefits of EOS for Control Plane?

The introduction of weekly Level 10 meetings has meant that the team get tasks done at the right time, and the scorecards are ensuring that business as usual is taken care of. One area where EOS has been particularly useful is in expanding the Control Plane team.

“Hiring nine new staff when you’re 15 people is a lot, and your culture is at risk if you don’t get the right people in. Using the People Score has been really helpful. It’s been great to see alignment, and clarification of vision and strategy, which is now slowly but surely being adopted across the company.

Control Plane has also already found that setting Rocks is helping them focus on their vision.

“If you’re bombarded with 100, 200 emails a day, which are all important and you already have project goals and milestones, and you have customers to take care of as well, it can be difficult to keep the bigger picture in mind.

“A simple tool like Rock setting and being able to look up the vision statement is really helpful and powerful. Because the Rocks are agreed upon by the team, you know that the expectations have already been set with your other colleagues, so it’s really easy to explain the value of what you are working on.”

What impact has the pandemic had on Control Plane over the past year?

“We decided to let go of the office – and that this shouldn’t be a short-term situation, where everything goes back to normal once the pandemic is over.”

The company had already been considering operating completely remotely permanently. Lockdown speeded up the decision that it was the right step.

The leadership team realized they would need more defined, tighter processes to ensure the business could grow as they wanted.

“Stumbling upon EOS has been a huge relief, honestly, because you are taking a risk when you’re changing processes, when you’re implementing a more well-defined culture. EOS meant we could run the business using a system which has been tried and tested by hundreds, if not thousands, of companies.”

Which EOS tools are most useful for a business that operates remotely?

Level 10 meetings

“Defining everything as a process and the one-on-one, same page meeting between the integrator and the visionary are working well. The weekly Level 10 meetings mean everybody gets on the same page, everybody knows what’s going on, everybody is synchronized. And on the other part, the IDS is really helpful.”

Bernino’s previous experience was that often issues might be recorded, but never actually resolved, particularly because people aren’t able to have a quick chat over a cup of coffee as they would if they are working physically together.

“Colleagues spend their time on working on shiny projects, and on business as usual, and the issue sits in a corner and doesn’t get dealt with. They may get sent around on an email or documented slightly, but time has not been carved out to say ‘Now we just do this, only this’.

“With EOS, things never grow out of proportion, because we deal with them every week in a structured way in the L10 meeting. We have time to work on the business in the L10 meeting, and not just in the business.

“The weekly L10 is a huge tool of alignment. It’s very disciplined, which stops all the tangential chatter and rabbit holes and all these things that normally happen in a business meeting.”

He said that when people report issues to you, you then some responsibility to resolve them, and if you don’t, ultimately that can lead to loss of trust from the person who has told you about that issue.  If loss of trust spreads in an organization, it’s a cancer. It’s toxic. Nobody trusts no one. There is no growth in that company. I can guarantee it.

“With the L10 meeting, people see that when they raise something, we take it seriously, and we get the job done. And there is a communication about it afterwards about the solution or what are we trying to work on. That means people feel respected, and feel we’ve been honest and taken our responsibilities seriously.”

Guest post: How the Meeting Pulse has helped our business

The scorecard

The other tool Bernino finds really useful is the scorecard, which gives a weekly pulse of how the business is doing on the most important metrics.

“It’s just so fast, and efficient way of getting on the same page and being synchronized. When you’re synchronized, you don’t have the pointless discussions which happen when people are not on the same page and don’t have the same facts. If we all know exactly how much is in the bank, then there’s no discussion when we talk about what can we invest in and what can we not invest in.”

The next step for Control Plane is to roll the system across the whole company, so that company, departmental and individual Rocks are aligned.

Video: The value of a scorecard
What do you think of EOS?

“It’s really great. I believe that it’s hugely improved our way of work and enabled us to grow as a remote working company, because everyone’s on the same page.”

Bernino said his role combines different hats: sales and marketing, finance, HR, legal, and he is the integrator. In the past, this has made it hard to keep track of all his priorities and could lead to sort of a kind of burnout where he was paralyzed with so many tasks.

“With Rock setting, it’s really easy to just look up the Rocks, look at the task at hand and ask, “Is this contributing to resolving this Rock or not?” If it’s not, it’s not relevant right now. That has helped me personally to perform much better and work on the right things at the right time.

“This becomes a virtuous circle: when I feel I’m working on the right things, and getting them done, and everybody can see it transparently, I feel accomplished. And when I feel accomplished, I get more energy, and more motivation. And from that, it’s almost like my energy of being positive spreads to other colleagues and the same thing happens for them as well.”

He said that Control Plane were committed to using EOS as their operating system for the long term.

“We’re not sort of testing out the waters trying out something and then shop around and see what will happen. When we decided to commit to it, we decided to do it fully and stick with it. We’ve seen positive results within the first, I would say six, eight weeks of starting the journey.”

“Working with Julia is very honest. She takes us slightly out of your comfort zone which can be challenging but a really good experience – you grow and you learn.”

She has introduced Control Plane to the concept of “No BCD” – no blaming, no complaining and no defending, and the company has decided to implement this as a guiding principle in all HR matters, so there’s no BCD, just facts and opportunities for improvement.

“This is really powerful stuff, because when that’s the operating model again, it takes away the opportunity for politics. Politics is all about blame games. No BCD takes that away and focuses on what can be done.

“You cannot change the past, you cannot change that mistake. What you can change is that it doesn’t happen again. You can grow with the experience and use it for growth, rather than finger pointing. The person you point a finger at immediately becomes a victim of that blame, and they point a finger at someone else. The blame game has started and everybody is pointing a finger at everybody. It’s toxic.”

Would you recommend EOS and Bold Clarity to other businesses?

“Yes, I would. The principles are so general that it will be valuable for any type of business really and even for NGOs, political organizations, political parties and government itself as well.

“It’s a really powerful set of really simple tools that are easy to understand, and which make a huge impact. It is powerful because it’s so easy to understand and so simple that everybody can get behind it while its actually doing real impact on the business.”

If you’d like to find out how EOS can help your business, book a discovery call with Julia by emailing hello@boldclarity.com.